Your head felt like static. Like someone left the TV on overnight and all that’s left is white noise and nothingness. Normally you would enjoy the silence, enjoy being in your own head, but this feels off. The presence that has been there for the last week floating at the edge of your conscientiousness is gone and yet you couldn’t understand why they were there to begin with. A constant presence. A buzzing in your ear. You would call them a fly if you didn’t think they were more dangerous. A wasp perhaps. The lack of noise is more unsettling than soothing, and you have no idea why.
You arrive at school that day as normal and your day continues as normal, at least until lunch. Most people leave you well enough alone and so you have a table in the corner that you gravitate towards. To say you are surprised when a person drops down in the seat next to you would be an understatement. Turning from your book you gaze at Steve Harrington, and you are confused.
“Hey,” he says casually, “How are you feeling?”
You blink at the male for a moment before you open your mouth to speak, “What are you doing?”
“Eating lunch?” he says slowly, “What are you doing?”
“Yes, I can see that, why are you eating lunch here?”
“It’s the cafeteria… it’s where we eat lunch? Is that a trick question?” he asks in confusion.
You blink back at the boy for a moment, “Why are you eating with me, Steve? Shouldn’t you be with your friends?”
“But… you are my friend… and I want to make sure you’re okay,” he said matter of factly.
You open your mouth to speak, but honestly, you are too shocked.
“Friends?” you ask quietly, “You… we… are friends?”
“Well… yeah! Of course, we are. Why wouldn’t we be?”
“I-” you stop.
How do you tell someone you’ve never had a friend before?
“Most people don’t like me.”
“Well, most people are dumb. Besides,” he says with a shrug, “I like you.”
You snap your head up and you look at him complete confusion.
“You do? Why?”
“Why… do I like you?”
“I don’t know… I just do. You are actually a really nice person when you aren’t being really blunt. Besides, we fought Demidogs together, so you’re kinda stuck with me…”
“Well… if that’s how one makes friends I don’t want anymore,” you say calmly.
“Wait… did you just make a joke?”
“You did! You did make a joke!” he says in excitement as he points at you.
You merely raise a brow at the male before you.
He claps his hands together and laughs, “I knew it! I knew you only acted like some stoic no-nonsense girl! I bet you do have a personality!”
“Of course I do!” you’re almost offended.
He sends you a sly smile, “Prove it.”
“What is this? The fourth grade?” you mutter haughtily, “I don’t have to prove anything to you.”
He rests his elbow on the table before resting his head on this fist, the smirk he sends you is full of mirth.
“You’re awfully happy for someone with a black eye,” you say in annoyance, “Why?”
He just shrugs, “Shouldn’t you know the answer to that?”
“Why would I?” you ask as you turn back to your sandwich.
“Well, you know things.”
“I don’t invade people’s privacy.”
“That’s not what I meant…” he says with a sigh, “Nobody has really seen Billy since that night.”
“Why would I know that?”
“I told you...you know things…”
“Anyway, they said he got into his car and drove off about a week ago. It’s been nice around here without him.”
Your mind flashes back to the moment his entire life story essentially assaulted your mind.
“There is more to him than you think.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?” he asks through a mouth full of grilled cheese.
“That’s not for me to say.”
“See! You know things!”
You turn towards him and give a derisive look. He ignores your annoyance and just happily eats his sandwich.
“What are you doing after school today?”
“Going home, why?”
“We should go see the kids, they miss you.”
“Do they miss me?”
“Because they are your friends and they want to know that you are okay,” his gaze is piercing as he gazes at you. He knows you’ve been avoiding everyone.
You break his gaze and stare off into the distance. You didn’t sign up for this. All you can think about is the wasp-like buzzing in the woods. Being close to you is dangerous, and you’re beginning to think you should have left Hawkins when you had the chance.
“You’re right Steve… I do know things, dangerous things, you should all stay away from me. It’s for your own good…” you murmur before you get up to head to class before the warning bell rings, you don’t mind being early.
“Hey!” he says as he gets up and follows you into the empty hallway, grabbing your arm he turns you around to face him; anger rolls off his body. Why is he angry?
“Look, our lives are dangerous, okay? This is the second time we’ve had to deal with creatures from another dimension attacking us. We thought Elle was dead! We thought she died protecting us! Plus she came from the same place as you and because of that you two need us more than ever, okay? Look I know I don’t have any fancy powers, all I have is a baseball bat, but damnit (Name), I’ll do what I can to protect you, okay? Have you ever stopped to think that just maybe you don’t always have to be alone?”
You regard him for a moment in silence.
“No...I haven’t… I spent most of my life alone being used as a lab rat. They muzzled me like a dog when I was seven years old. At nine they put me in a straight jacket because they were terrified of me. It’s hard to rely on anyone when you’ve been treated like a monster your whole life.”
Steve’s eyes are wide in shock and horror as he listens to you. A chill goes down his spine, you’re so emotionless when you talk about it. He doesn’t want to know anything else… the horrors you faced…
“They really… did that to you?”
“I was an experiment, Steve… please forgive me for not welcoming the world with open arms when I had more in common with rodents and rabbits growing up than actual people.”
He flinches back at your tone and hangs his head down avoiding your gaze. You look away from him and down the empty hallway. You could make them forget… you’ve done it before…
The hand on your forearm is unexpected. You whip your head around and lock your surprised gaze onto his.
“I’m sorry that happened to you… I really am… You didn’t deserve that. I...want us to be friends though,” he takes a step towards you, “I know… I can’t erase your past or what its done to you… but… you could have a normal life… you could have friends and people who love you. You just have to stop pushing everybody away.”
You pull yourself from his grasp and walk away. You can give it one more day.
You don’t really feel like dealing with the rest of the world today. You still aren’t ready, besides you have something to take care of. Walking out of the school you are too lost in your thoughts to sense the presence near you. A hand reaches out and you’re pulled back behind the school adrenaline courses through your body and suddenly you're in a familiar head once again. You rip yourself out of his grasp as you turn to see Billy Hargrove standing before you. He looks a little worse for wear as he regards you with bewildered eyes.
“What did you do to me?” he rasps out.
Your eyes widen as you regard him, “Nothing…” your voice is small as you answer.
“Bullshit. I know you did something. What was it?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” your voice is stronger this time. He’s no match for you if you wanted you could have him out cold on the floor in a moment. He takes a step closer to you and you stand your ground. He’s hovering over you a moment later and you feel yourself bristle with the unspoken threat. A moment later he deflates and backs away.
“I just...need to know what you did to me… I could feel you in my head…”
You regard him for a moment before you walk closer to him.
“I saw everything.”
“What does that mean?” he spits out.
“It means what it means. Your mom left and your dad abuses you.”
He’s up like a bolt of lightning seared his skin.
“How the fuck do you know that?”
“I told you… I saw it.”
“That doesn’t make any sense!” He’s angry now, you can sense it rolling off of his skin like a mist. It permeates the air and you shudder at the feeling.
“You need to calm down.”
“You don’t tell me what to do!”
“I don’t have time for you to have a tantrum.”
“Yeah?! Well, too bad sweetheart!”
You frown at him before you turn to walk away.
“I’m not done talking to you!”
“Don’t touch me.”
He stops dead in his tracks, the order ringing in the air around you, “Now calm down,” you say as you turn to regard him.
His eyes are wide with fear as he regards you, his body inches from yours. You look him dead in the eye and he could have sworn they glowed.
“What do you want from me, Billy? What have you wanted from the beginning?”
“I don’t know… You just… had the same look in your eye… like-like you’d seen shit.”
He nods as he regards you, all the fight has left his body and he sits heavily on the ground in front of you.
“Can you do that to anybody?”
“Tell them what to do… Make them listen to you.”
“Can you do that to my old man?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what he does to me…” Billy says as he lifts up his shirt and square in the center of his abdomen is a bruise the size of a man’s fist.
Your body runs cold, “When did that happen?”
“A few days ago why?”
“I have to go,” you say as you turn around and walk away.
“Wait!” he yells after you struggling to get up desperateration clear in his voice.
You don’t stop as you disappear among the cars and out of his sight.
You don’t go home that afternoon instead, you follow a dirt road down into the trees. You can feel the presence from before following you. Walking further into the forest you feel them gaining on you. A hand rests on your shoulder and your eyes narrow as you turn to face the man behind you. He’s frozen in place, a stun gun in his right hand as you regard him the silent order hangs in the air between you.
“Did you really think that was going to work?” you question calmly.
Surprises flashes across his mind right before you dive deep into it. You aren’t surprised by what you find there. The lab and everything that comes with it. He had been following you for a few days now.
“I knew it was you…” he whispers.
“That doesn’t matter.”
He passes out after you extracted the memories from his mind, this time though, you put new ones in its stead.
“Why don’t you try to solve that puzzle…” you murmur to the unconscious man on the ground.
You know their intentions and you know what you need to do.
I should have left… I shouldn’t have stayed here…
“No matter, I’ll just have to take care of this as well…”
Dark has fallen over Hawkins by the time you get home. You are surprised to find Steve and the kids along with Elle and Hopper in your living room arguing when you open the door.
“Where have you been?!” Melanie yells as she rushes towards you. She engulfs you into a hug and relief assaults your body.
“I’m fine,” you say as you fight your way out of her grip.
“We were worried about you!” says Dustin as he comes towards you.
“I don’t understand…”
“When people care about you… they worry about you…” Steve says with forced patience as he walks closer to you.
“We thought they got you…” Elle says as she walks up to you and pulls you into a hug.
“The bad men… I saw them…”
You regard them silently for a moment debating on whether or not you should tell them.
‘You just have to stop pushing everybody away…’
“I had to take care of one of them.”
“By yourself?” questions Hopper as he stands up straight from where he had been leaning against the wall.
“Of course…” you say calmly, “He wasn’t any match for me.”
“What did you do to him, kid?”
“Erased his memories.”
“Whoa! You can do that?!” yells Dustin in amazement.
“Yes, it’s how I escaped the lab, I made them all forget me.”
“You made them forget you? All of them?” Hopper asked in bewilderment.
“Yes, and there are others that need to forget as well.”
“How do you know?”
“I saw them in his head. They want to take us.”
“Us? Who’s us?” Questions Hopper a dangerous lit to his voice.
“Eleven and I.”
“So do you have a number?”
“How many of you were in the lab?”
“At the beginning or the end?”
“There weren’t many of us left in the end and we lost several throughout the years. I don’t like remembering. When I left there were only four of us left.”
“Yes, there were two others besides Elle and me.”
“Who were they? What could they do?”
“I don’t know, they kept us separated and I could only handle so many horrors. Their minds were fragmented and I couldn’t communicate with them like I could Elle.”
“What did they do to you?”
Your eyes narrow at the police chief, “That is none of your concern.”
“We need to know what they are planning so it kinda is.”
“My past is to be left out of this. Honestly, I don’t even need you to take care of this problem, I’ve done it before and I can do it again,” you reply coldly.
“They know what you can do this time though! What if they come prepared?” Lucas interjects.
“They have no idea what I can really do. I knew better than to reveal all my secrets.”
Your voice sends a chill down their spines.
“Still… We can help!” Mike is standing in front of you.
You can feel panic and fear radiating off of him. He’s afraid he will lose her again.
“I don’t need help.”
“It’s okay if you’re scared you know?” questions Dustin.
You blink at him in surprise.
“We’re going to be here for you and Elle. You don’t have to do this alone. I know you have for a long time, but this time you have us!” he continues.
“Yeah, besides we can take some stupid scientists. They are nothing compared to those creatures! We got this,” Max says with a confidence you can’t dispute.
“Fine… I’ll tell you what I know…”